A Cognitive Perspective on Emergent Semantics in Collaborative Tagging: The Basic Level Effect

, und . CEUR Workshop Proceedings of the International Workshop on Adaptation in Social and Semantic Web (SASWeb2010), 590, Seite 13-18. (2010)


Researching the emergence of semantics in social systems needs to take into account how users process information in their cognitive system. We report results of an experimental study in which we examined the interaction between individual expertise and the basic level advantage in collaborative tagging. The basic level advantage describes availability in memory of certain preferred levels of taxonomic abstraction when categorizing objects and has been shown to vary with level of expertise. In the study, groups of students tagged internet resources for a 10-week period. We measured the availability of tags in memory with an association test and a relevance rating and found a basic level advantage for tags from more general as opposed to specific levels of the taxonomy. An interaction with expertise also emerged. Contrary to our expectations, groups that spent less time to develop a shared understanding shifted to more specific levels as compared to groups that spent more time on a topic. We attribute this to impaired collaboration in the groups. We discuss implications for personalized tag and resource recommendations.

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